The Most Common Types of Cancer in Pets
Of all of the different types of cancer a dog or cat can develop, skin cancer, or Malignant Skin Neoplasia, is the most common. Other common types of cancers in pets include (listed by prevalence):
Splenic (Spleen) Cancer
Bone or Joint Cancer
Hepatic (Liver) Cancer
Thoracic (Chest) Cancer
Anal Sac Cancer
Brain or Spinal Cord Cancer
How do pets get Cancer?
Cancer develops as a result of damage to the DNA. This damage is most often caused by environmental exposure to carcinogens like tobacco smoke, radiation and pesticides, and can be compounded by risk factors like chronic inflammation and being overweight.
Common Feline Cancers
Lymphoma (associated with feline leukemia virus)
Oral squamous cell carcinoma
Tips for Dealing with Your Pet’s Cancer Diagnosis
You may be an emotional wreck upon hearing that your beloved pet has cancer, but it’s very important that you stay positive around your dog or cat. Animals are very sensitive and can pick up on your moods. So, while it may be very difficult, work hard to be upbeat and to reduce the amount of stress radiating from your body to your pet.
Seek Online Support
Feeling stressed out, sad, or confused after learning that your pet has cancer? Do you have questions that you’d like to ask somebody whose pet may be dealing with a similar type of cancer? Thankfully, Facebook has made it easier for you to connect with other owners whose pets have cancer. Members of these groups are often able to offer you support, advice, and even make suggestions on new treatments or healthy lifestyle changes that could help your pet survive its disease and/or to ease any pain or discomfort it may be experiencing. To find one of these groups, simply search Facebook for support groups that deal with cats, dogs, or pets with cancer.
Make Life Easier for Your Pet
Depending on a number of factors — for example, the type of cancer your pet has or the type of treatment it is receiving — it may begin to experience physical issues that could require special accommodations. For instance, if your dog or cat typically sleeps on your bed, it may now be too weak to jump up onto your mattress. If so, you may want to consider buying it steps, so that it can still climb up on to your bed.
Keep a Journal
Whether you decide to use an online app or a paper journal, it’s important to keep a record of your pet’s treatments and medications. It’s also imperative that you note any new problems your pet may be exhibiting, such as a lack of appetite, difficulties urinating, or eliminating its bowels. Then keep your veterinarian aware of these changes, as they may want to make changes in your pet’s medications or treatment.
Consult with the Experts
Once your regular veterinarian has diagnosed your dog or cat with cancer, your next step should be to consult with an oncologist. A specialist will have the training and expertise to help you choose the right medical path for your pet. Of course, the idea of taking your pet to an oncologist can lead to a new fear — the high cost of treatment and its possible effects on your family’s budget.
Unfortunately, this fear is not unfounded. According to Healthy Paws Insurance, the typical cost of cancer treatment for a pet can range between $5,000 to up to $30,000 or more. This is a major blow to most people’s wallets. And if they can’t find any vet bill help, some pet owners may be forced to make the gut-wrenching and heartbreaking decision to put their pet to sleep.
In these types of “preventable pet euthanasia” situations, your veterinarian may be able to help you find financial support willing to give generously to a campaign with the knowledge that their donation will be legitimately used for the pet in need.
Love your pet and be there for it throughout its ordeal. Remember, in its eyes, you are its whole world.